This Broccoli Crunch Salad is made with toasted sunflower seeds, grapes, and a honey dijon dressing. Easy, healthy, and delicious, this vegetarian recipe is perfect for picnics or potlucks.
It's pretty clear that I kind of have a thing for salads. Whether it's a protein-packed Spicy Mung Bean Salad, a leafy Vegetarian Caesar Salad, or a Massaged Kale Salad, I am a salad girl through and through.
A solid broccoli salad recipe is one of those picnic or potluck mainstays that I think everyone should have on hand. This one is my go-to, and hopefully it will become yours as well.
If you look up "Broccoli Crunch Salad" you'll find a variety of riffs with a few common elements. Always made with broccoli (duh), usually some fruit, something for crunch, often bacon, and often a creamy dressing.
*This* Broccoli Crunch Salad is leaning a little more sophisticated (in my opinion) with a honey dijon dressing that uses not one, but two kinds of dijon mustard. It's sweet, salty, tangy, crunchy, delicious, and, of course, nutritious, and will make a great addition to your salad repertoire all year long.
You'll find a detailed recipe and printable grocery list at the bottom of this post. But let's take a quick run-through of what you need:
- Broccoli --> We're using both the stems and the florets here.
- Parsley --> For that bright fresh flavour.
- Grapes --> For a little somethin' sweet.
- Sunflower seeds --> Bringing the crunch.
- Honey --> For the dressing.
- Dijon --> We're using both smooth AND grainy mustard.
- Apple cider vinegar --> For some tang!
- Olive oil --> As one does.
- Salt and pepper --> You know it.
Again, there's detailed instructions in the printable recipe card below, but I'll walk you through it step by step here, with pictures!
Step 1: Chop the broccoli florets into small, bite-sized pieces. Put a couple of inches of water at the bottom of a large pot with steamer basket or mesh strainer inside.
Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli florets, cover, and steam for one minute. You just want to take the raw edge off. Drain, then rinse the broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking.
Use a clean kitchen towel to dry the broccoli florets.
Step 2: Peel the broccoli stems (I just use a sharp knife for this, but a vegetable peeler is fine too) and julienne, finely dice, or shred the stems.
Step 3: Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, and remove from the heat when they're smelling nutty and delicious.
Step 4: Roughly chop the parsley.
Step 5: Combine the honey, mustards, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper in the bottom of a large bowl. Use a whisk to emulsify the dressing.
Step 6: Add the steamed-and-cooled broccoli florets, sliced broccoli stems, parsley, grapes, and toasted sunflower seeds to the bowl.
Step 7: Toss with the dressing to ensure everything is well coated.
Step 8: Transfer to a serving bowl if you wish.
That's it! You're done!
Can this recipe be made in advance?
Although I do feel that this particular salad is best eaten the same day that it's made, it will definitely last a few days in your fridge.
You can certainly prepare all of the elements in advance, even pre-steaming the broccoli florets (maybe as part of your weekly batch cooking?), whisking together the dressing, and toasting the sunflower seeds.
Then, all you need to do is toss it together when you're ready to serve, and voila!
Can this salad be made vegan?
It sure can! Just swap the honey in the dressing for maple syrup or another liquid sweetener, and poof! It's vegan!
Is broccoli healthy?
Um, yes. Yes it is.
Broccoli is rich in a host of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, as well as antioxidant flavanoids and carotenoids. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is heart-healthy and also benefits our digestive health by both supporting and regulating our gut bacteria.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Broccoli Crunch Salad
- 2-3 bunches broccoli, including stems about 1 lb / 500g total
- ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 1 cup grapes sliced in half
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 2 tablespoon Smooth Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Cut the stems from the broccoli and set aside. Chop the florets into bite-sized pieces.
- Put a couple of inches of water at the bottom of a large pot with steamer basket or mesh strainer inside. Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli florets, cover, and steam for one minute. You just want to take the raw edge off. Drain, rinse in let cool and dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Place the sunflower seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, and toast, stirring frequently, until they are lightly brown and fragrant.
- Use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to peel the tough skin from the broccoli stems, then shred, julienne, or finely dice the stems.
- In a large bowl whisk together the mustards, honey, olive oil, and vinegar.
- Add the broccoli florets, stems, toasted sunflower seeds, slidced grapes, and parsley into the bowl with the dressing and toss well. Taste, and then season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the salad into a serving bowl, and serve!
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- This salad is best served the same day it is made, but will last up to 3 days in the fridge.
- For a vegan salad, replace honey with maple syrup or another liquid sweetener
This recipe was originally published April 12, 2013. It was retested, rephotographed, and republished on May 30, 2020.